KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

High Court Decision Imminent On Health Law’s Birth Control Mandate

Also pending is a decision regarding free speech arguments against a Massachusetts law that creates a buffer zone around abortion clinics to keep protesters from patients.

USA Today: Supreme Court Decisions Could Have Broad Impact
Fourteen of the court's 70 argued cases remain to be decided on topics ranging from abortion and contraception to Internet streaming and cellphone privacy. … A Massachusetts law creating 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics to keep protesters away from patients faces a potential First Amendment roadblock. The court upheld an 8-foot buffer zone in Colorado 14 years ago, but that was a close call. During oral arguments this winter, even liberal justices openly wondered if the Bay State had gone too far. … The court will decide whether for-profit companies with religious objections can be forced to offer coverage for contraceptives in their insurance plans.The case, brought by two corporations that equate certain birth control methods with abortion, threatens to become the first legal chink in the armor of the president's health care law. The court upheld the law in 2012 (Wolf, 6/19).

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Alabama dismissed a separate challenge to the birth control mandate -  

Associated Press:  Alabama Judge Rejects Claim Against Health Mandate
A federal judge in Alabama has dismissed a Catholic broadcaster's legal claim that requiring employers to include contraception in their health care coverage is unconstitutional. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade acted Wednesday on the lawsuit filed by the Eternal Word Television Network, which has studios in a Birmingham suburb (6/18).

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